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Sickle Cell Awareness


Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder that affects millions of people around the world, yet it remains widely misunderstood and underrepresented in public awareness campaigns. September is National Sickle Cell Awareness Month. In this blog post, we will delve into the basics of sickle cell anemia, the impacted populations and look at ways we can support those impacted by this disorder.


What is Sickle Cell Anemia?

Sickle cell anemia, often referred to as sickle cell disease (SCD), is a genetic blood disorder that affects the shape of red blood cells. Normally, red blood cells are round and flexible, allowing them to move easily through blood vessels and carry oxygen throughout the body. However, in individuals with sickle cell anemia, a genetic mutation causes red blood cells to take on a crescent or sickle shape, leading to a range of health complications.


What populations are impacted most by Sickle Cell Anemia?

According to hematology.org Sickle Cell is more common in people of African descent, including African Americans (among whom 1 in 12 carries a sickle cell gene. Hispanic Americans from Central and South America are also impacted. As well as people of middle Eastern, Asian, Indian and Mediterranean descent.


How can we help?

Support Sickle Cell Organizations: Many nonprofit organizations are dedicated to providing resources and support to those with sickle cell disease. Donate to or volunteer with these organizations to help fund research, provide patient assistance, and raise awareness.


Raise Awareness: Start by educating yourself and others about sickle cell anemia. Share information with your friends, family, and community to dispel myths and reduce stigma associated with the condition.


Be an Advocate: Advocate for individuals with sickle cell disease by supporting policies and initiatives that improve access to healthcare, research funding, and better treatment options. Join or support organizations that focus on sickle cell advocacy.


Blood Donation: Regular blood transfusions are often necessary for individuals with sickle cell anemia. Consider donating blood, especially if you have a similar ethnic background, as patients often require blood from donors with matching antigens.


Emotional Support: Living with a chronic illness can be emotionally challenging. Offer a listening ear, emotional support, and understanding to individuals with sickle cell disease and their families. Sometimes, just being there for someone can make a significant difference.


Be Inclusive: Ensure that individuals with sickle cell disease are included in social activities and events. Be inclusive and mindful of their specific needs.


Volunteer: Offer your time and skills to help individuals with sickle cell disease and their families. This could involve assisting with transportation to medical appointments, helping with daily tasks, or providing respite care for caregivers.


Be Informed about Emergency Care: If you have a close friend or family member with sickle cell disease, educate yourself about emergency care and what to do in case of a crisis. Knowing how to respond to a medical emergency can be invaluable.


Respect Privacy: Be respectful of an individual's privacy regarding their medical condition. Understand that some may prefer not to disclose their illness to everyone, and it's essential to respect their choice.


The response or severity of this disorder varies from person to person, even within the same family. Do all you can to support those with the disease. Get involved!

Teresa

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